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River’s Way was founded in 1993 and established as a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit corporation in 1994. River's Way is a United Way of Bristol agency.


Our mission statement: Providing opportunities for youth and young adults with differing abilities to grow as individuals while making positive contributions to their community.


From our outdoor adventure roots to our focus on community betterment, River's Way has always promoted active lifestyles for people with differing abilities.  People of all abilities can work hard, play hard and contribute.  At River's Way, we create opportunities for people of all abilities to shine, and we believe people of all abilities belong in our community.  


River's Way has been gardening with special education classes at Tennessee High School and Virginia High School since 2011. We have garden hoop houses at Central Christian Church in Bristol TN and a large garden across from Tennessee High.  Students with differing abilities learn workforce skills and work ethic through gardening.  We bring produce to food pantries, and we run a vegetable stand at the YMCA of Bristol.  We also use produce from these gardens in our cafe.


River's Way works with schools to transition students with differing abilities into jobs.  We have funds available for internships and we pay students for working during high school and post-graduation.  Work allows people with differing abilities to lead active and productive lives while contributing to their community.


River's Way partners with Theatre Bristol to run annual plays.  Each time we do this we sell out the performances. In addition, we work with Theatre Bristol throughout the year putting sets together and helping with many other theater tasks.  


River's Way runs fitness programs for youth and young adults with differing abilities at the YMCA of Bristol during weekdays throughout the year.  River's Way also runs goal centered walking programs with hundreds of students at local high schools and middle schools. These programs are inclusive, and goal centered.  They allow participants with differing abilities to show what they can do when it comes to walking and working out.


SINCE 1993
River's Way was founded in 1993 and was established as a 501 (c) (3) corporation in 1994.  We have worked with area schools since the late 90's and we have developed strong relationships with many people and organizations in the Bristol area.  River's Way is served by an active board of directors that is inclusive and diverse in its makeup.

In 2021, River's Way served over 1,100 people in its programs. That number continues to grow. River's Way programs provide opportunities for youth and young adults with differing abilities to show what they are capable of doing when given the chance.


River's Way has a long history of building partnerships with organizations and people. Partnerships allow us to pool resources. They allow our programs to be more inclusive and more cost effective.  River's Way partners include five local school systems, the Bristol Public Library, the YMCA of Bristol, Emory and Henry College, Theatre Bristol, the City of Bristol Tennessee, Central Christian Church, Bristol's Promise, Bristol Virginia Parks and Recreation and community businesses.
River's Way meets the needs of youth and young adults with differing abilities by developing collaborative programs that meet community needs.  We address community issues including physical inactivity, healthy eating, sedentary lifestyles, social isolation and the need for more inclusive cultural and service opportunities.


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